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Hone your craft and connect with other writers, illustrators, and children’s book industry professionals at this year’s book fests and events. Grab your calendars and mark these dates.

Here are the dates for SCBWI’s biggest events for 2018:

Writers-Illustrators-2017-2March 3
Writers Day
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
This is a full-day to immerse yourself in expert keynote speakers, manuscript critiques, and agent pitch sessions. This year’s event, themed “Time to Level Up!,” offers writers a choice of three different levels based on experience and goals.
Read PB Rippey’s writer’s perspective on 2017’s event. Last year’s event also included illustrators. Read Lynn Becker’s illustrator’s perspective.

May 4-May 6
Tahquitz Pines Middle Grade/Young Adult Retreat
This event is sold out, but you can get on a wait list.
The lucky writers who scored spots for this event get a chance to spruce up their manuscripts with expert advice at a mountain retreat.

June (date TBD)
Critique Day
Skirball Cultural Center
Formerly known as Critiquenic, this is an opportunity to connect and get feedback from kid-lit community members.
Read Claire Moore’s recap of the 2017 event.


August 3-6
Annual SCBWI Summer Conference
Los Angeles
Registration will begin in April. Check back for a schedule and updates.
Spend four days learning from top authors, editors, agents, and art directors.
Read Helena Ku Rhee’s recap of the 2017 summer conference.

September 15-17
Working Writer’s Retreat
Los Angeles
Registration opens on July 16.
Spend three days focused on your work in progress while learning from industry pros.
Read Andrea Custer’s recap of last year’s retreat.

If those aren’t enough for you, here are a few other events happening this year, including comic book conventions, which often have an array of graphic novelists and illustrators exhibiting. Keep in mind that these aren’t SCBWI events, just a short list we put together to help you get your research started!

Check out the event websites for details, including any changes to date or location information.

March 3
Teen Book Fest
City of Ontario
Colony High Branch Library

12901336_10209000050623459_520565799916458332_oMarch 23-25
Anaheim Convention Center
Read Sarah Parker-Lee’s recap of the 2017 Wonder-Con.

April 21-22
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
University of Southern California
Read Jacob Gerhardt’s recap of  the 2017 festival.

May 5
Santa Monica

July 19-22
Comic-Con International
San Diego Convention Center

These festivals took place in 2017, but don’t yet have 2018 dates listed:

Pasadena Loves YA

Orange County Book Festival

Grand Park Book Fest

Is there a book festival or conference you are excited to attend this year? Share it in the comments section below.

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Erlina Vasconcellos is the Kite Tales assistant editor. When she isn’t working as a journalist, she writes pictures books and middle grade. Find her on Twitter: @noterlinda 

Photos by Christine Van Zandt, Helena Ku Rhee, Jessica Chrysler